The Crank It Up is an obstacle, firstly introduced as the fourth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 9 in Kansas City.
It consisted of three sets of separate handles, and a laché bar after the third set of handles. On this obstacle:
- Competitors must jump to the first set of handles and crank the handles up and back until the handles moved forward, allowing them to advance by making a transition to the second set of handles.
- The second set of handles moved in a similar fashion with the first one, and after completing the second set of handles, competitors must make a transition to the third set of handles.
- The third set of handles moved up, but stop at 90 degrees (at the very top).
- From there, competitors must make a transition to the laché bar, and then to the landing platform to advance.
This obstacle was proven to be a massive toll on the upper-body strength, with many competitors tuckering out halfway through on the second or third handles. To prevent the fatigue of the muscle, many competitors had needed to get a strong transition to conserve arm energy. During Kansas City qualifiers, 35 competitors failed on this obstacle, and no female competitor could get past it. The obstacle also became the cut off for advancing to Kansas City finals.
During Kansas City finals, the obstacle was modified with the removal of the second set of handles (for a total of two sets of handles), thus increasing the jumping distance between the sets of handles. Although only 5 competitors fell on the obstacle, the obstacle's upper-body toll was one of the contributions to the Kansas City finals' absence of finishers. Combined with the elimination rates of the Broken Pipes, Bar Hop, and Floating Monkey Bars, the Kansas City finals ultimately resulted in zero finishers, making it the second time in American Ninja Warrior history that no competitor could finish a city finals course (after Philadelphia finals on American Ninja Warrior 8).
Also during Kansas City finals, there was a special completion on this obstacle, when Maggi Thorne, who previously failed on the obstacle during Kansas City qualifiers, was able to battle her way through both sets of handles. With every female competitor either failing on the Crank It Up or Broken Pipes, she became the first and currently only woman to get past it. Her completion ultimately awarded her the "POM Run of the Night". With her eventually failing on the next obstacle, the Bar Hop, her run also became the third instance where the "POM Run of the Night" was not awarded to a completion on a course.
The obstacle was brought back on American Ninja Warrior 10, as the fifth obstacle in Dallas. During Dallas qualifiers, it did slightly less damage than during Kansas City qualifiers, likely due to its placement as the fifth obstacle. Although the obstacle had eliminated competitors like Andrew Lowes, Chris Cambre, and Nate Burkhalter, it had only taken out 12 competitors in total.
Also, unlike during Kansas City qualifiers, only 2 female competitors, Quest O'Neal and Karen Wiltin, attempted the obstacle during Dallas qualifiers, likely due to its placement and the high elimination rates of the previous obstacles (the Catch & Release, Bouncing Spider, and Tuning Forks). However, neither of them completed the obstacle.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the NBC broadcast and external information found
- The Crank It Up was one of the eight obstacles that won the first edition of American Ninja Warrior: Obstacle Design Challenge, and designed by Kevin Brekke, who was later hired to become a professional obstacle designer on ATS, the company that builds the obstacles for American Ninja Warrior.